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So I'd go on those websites but I would post saying ‘I know you're looking for someone, we suggest you come to our site’.We'd launched in June or July 2000, and got one registration a day maybe.
When we really took off we were contacted by Microsoft, who asked if they could see what we were doing because they didn't know how we'd done it with their own technology. It would go up and stay there for a few minutes before getting deleted as spam.So here, in their own words – and those of Michael Murphy, the CEO who took it from a bedroom in Barnet to a multi-million pound brand – is the story of Friends Reunited: Jason Porter: “We met working together at Bovis Construction [now Lend Lease], way back in the day.We were programmers, [but] we always had this entrepreneurial spirit, you know, always coming up with ideas, making stuff for people.That's why they launched Friends Reunited Dating in 2003, trying to provide a long term partner as well as new friends to their single members.Actually, Friends Reunited Dating was the fastest growing dating website in 2004-2005.The first we knew about it was when we got home and found that our site was down.” JP: “At that point we had one little machine and it just stopped working.
We'd gone from 20 or 30 registrations a day to a thousand in a couple of hours.” SP: “We found what had happened by looking through message boards.Within a month we were getting five a day, and it slowly grew.” JP: “Then there were two big things.The first [in January 2001] was Steve Wright's radio show.” SP: “Someone recommended us to the Steve Wright Show on BBC Radio 2 as the website of the day.’ We looked into it, and there was a site called Classmates, but they were only doing the United States.” SP: “I, quite famously, said ‘what a load of rubbish’ to it.There was an awful lot of looking back around then, with the millenium, with programmes on TV looking back at the 1980s and 1970s and school days, and there’s the idea of school reunions - they’re horrendous.Which isn't too different to Twitter now I guess, it's there then it goes, but there were hundreds of these tiny boards with people looking for lost friends.” SP: “‘I'm looking for Joe Bloggs from King's High School in 1977’, that sort of thing.